This One Summer

by Mariko Tamaki

Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

There have been many coming-of-age tales about friends growing together and apart, but few have been written and illustrated as gracefully as this one. The story revolves around Rose and Windy, two girls encroaching on adolescence, during their annual family vacations at Awago Beach. The girls’ summer begins as anticipated with visits to the beach and renting horror movies from the local corner store; however, something is different this year. The girls find themselves slowly drifting apart, as Rose is interested in a local teen, or “The Dud” as Windy refers to him and his dramatic relationship his girlfriend. Meanwhile Windy’s immaturity starts shining through. Rose is also dealing with family issues as her parents’ marriage is becoming strained due to her mother’s depression. The Tamaki’s have written and illustrated a true masterpiece, one that avoids clichés and feels real enough to be biographical. The tension between Windy and Rose, as well as Rose and her parents, avoids becoming melodramatic and seems to settle naturally on a hopeful, yet poignant note. The illustrations mesh perfectly with the text and were drawn using a purple ink that fits the mood of the tale. The book is moving; brimming with subtleties and charm. It is a treasure for any collection.

Reviewer: Brandon West